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Archive for the ‘cookbooks’ Category

I tripped over all the crap in my entryway. Bags and bags of stuff – work stuff, Christmas stuff, wrapping stuff, stuff stuff. My home is officially a hazard course and I’ve have reached critical meltdown point. So it’s probably a good time for a shot of caffeine, right? How about getting that from a cookie? The sugar has got to help too. Put a pot of to brew, grab a handful of cookies and exhale. Today for Day 11 of the 12 Days of Cookies … Espresso Crinkles. And not a day too soon. (more…)

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What the hell are ramps anyway?  For most of my life I’d never heard of the things and then about five or six years ago, they started popping up everywhere.  The way folks go on and on about them you’d think they’d cure cancer, world peace and the international debt crisis.  How can something possibly live up to that hype?  Then I tasted some.  Huh.  Oniony, garlicy with an ever so slight funky edge that is so much more interesting than a scallion or straight up onion.  Worth it?  I think so.  They’re also a sure sign that spring has arrived, even more so than the season’s first asparagus or rhubarb.  I think that’s what we’re all really looking for after a few dreary months so maybe a little crazy behavior is expected.

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Last year, an interesting book and I crossed paths.  I put it down and picked it back up, again and again.  I was intrigued.  My cookbook collection is housed on multiple bookshelves in the dining room, with an occasional pile in the family room but eventually those too make their way to the shelves.  Eventually.  Except for this one.  It has lived under my coffee table for over a year, within easy reach from the couch where I do a lot of my work.  The book?  Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours by Kim Boyce.  First out of the gate was a fantastic Whole Wheat Chocolate Cookie that completely changed my perception of whole grain baking. I never, and I mean never, thought a cookie containing 100% whole wheat flour would be that delicious.  There was nothing hippie dippy about them whatsoever.

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It’s not often that I get a cookbook that knocks my socks off.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore cookbooks of all kinds and thoroughly enjoy reading them along with food websites, magazines and pretty much all food related literature.  I read quite a bit regarding this topic.  Perhaps too much and it’s been a while since something has left me thinking “damn, why didn’t I think of this?” And Miss Christina Tosi, by god, you’ve done it.  The book of which I speak?  Momofuko Milk Bar.

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Last week at the farmers market, I piled a big thick stack of beautiful rhubarb into my bag and on the drive home, thought about what to do with it.  Pies, crumbles, crisps, jams … yes, but.  But what?  What else is there?  I toyed with the idea of sorbet for about 3 seconds but there’s absolutely zero room in my freezer for the stupid ice cream machine canister these days.  I’ll make a pie, sure, but not this week.  I was still thinking about it as I trudged up the stairs.  What to do.  What to do.  Then I saw the lime green cover of a recent cookbook acquisition on my coffee table and remembered a recipe that caught my eye – Rhubarb Syrup – and the drinks that followed.  Perfect.  We have a winner.

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yellow tomatoes

I’ve been thumbing through my new/old copy of the Café Boulud Cookbook, considering what my next recipe would be and then who’s the guest judge of Top Chef this week?  Daniel Boulud with his cute smile and melt-the-cockels-of-my-heart accent.  Oh, the timing is impeccable, I tell you.  So what’s next?  I’ve already done a lovely chilled melon soup so maybe Onion Soup with Braised Beef Shanks?  No, it’s too hot.  Potato Gratin Forestier?  No, I’m too fat.  Candied Yellow Tomatoes?  Huh?  I kept coming back to the tomatoes, turning the idea over in my mind, trying to figure out what it would look like, taste like.  I’ve certainly seen tomato desserts over the years though I’ve never made one myself.  Is it too weird?  Would it be just awful?  If you think about it, technically the tomato is a fruit.  And fruit can be candied.  So is it really that far of a stretch?  Well, we’re about to find out.

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lots o books
I have a cookbook addiction.  There I said it.  I have hundreds easily but I’m a little afraid to count and really know.  They take over my dining room in a general organizational scheme – baking here (but bread over there), Asian on this shelf, vegetarian on that one.  Italian up here but French down there.  Reference books on the highest shelf, all purpose books in the middle for easy access.  The most recently used are stacked on my kitchen counter, waiting to be put back on the shelf.  A big fat pile is next to my couch – either just read or waiting to be read.  A tall stack of new purchases is on one of my dining room chairs waiting for a home.  I may need to move soon, just for more space. (more…)

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